Things To Consider When Starting a Winery

Things To Consider When Starting a Winery

Becoming a vintner is a major undertaking. Between acquiring land or partnerships for growing grape vines, equipment for extracting and fermenting juice, barrels for aging, and supplies like bottles and tasting glasses, there are many things to consider when starting a winery.

Define Your Vision

Before you can get started, you must know where you want to go with your wine business. What type of wine do you want to make, and with what kind of grapes? Will that varietal of grape grow on land that’s available and affordable to buy?

Establishing your brand, identifying your target market, and being specific about your goals are necessary steps among the things to consider when starting a winery. Want to know more? Enroll in our Craft Alcohol Marketing Bootcamp course to build a strong foundation for your venture. How will you differentiate your winery from all the competition? You must be able to answer the question, “What’s so special about your brand story and wine?” even before you release your first bottle.

Create a Business Plan With Realistic Start Up Costs

Now that you’ve fleshed out your vision, you must pin down the practical details. Starting a winery is expensive, meaning you’ll have to convince a lender, or more likely, a group of investors, and probably a lot of family and friends to back your dream with cash.

Write a business plan mapping out all your start-up costs, including land (or the cost of an established winery for sale), vines, equipment, staff, and services like accounting, legal, and marketing, to show people you’re serious and that you have a plan to earn them return on their investment.

Get a Mentor

Winemakers must comply with a dizzying array of local, state, and federal regulations about making and selling alcoholic beverages. You’ll need to obtain appropriate licensing. It may take years before you have enough wine in bottles that are ready for distribution. In the meantime, seek out mentors in the winemaking community that can help you navigate the regulatory and agricultural aspects of the business.

You may need several advisors, like a lawyer that specializes in representing wineries, an alcohol marketing agency that can help you build your brand, and an experienced grower who can clue you in about weather, pests, soil conditions, and ways to protect and care for your vines.

Cultivate Patience…Along With Grapes

If you succeed in buying suitable land, a vineyard, or an established winery for sale (or lease), and you’ve got your vines in the ground and growing, you’re off to a start. You won’t know how good a start for several years. It will take a few years to make anything drinkable, and in the meantime, you’ll need enough money to keep your operation running, pay staff, and pay your own bills. Winemaking takes passion, persistence, and patience. Make a plan for how you’ll spend your time while waiting for the harvest, and for your wine to become drinkable. Spend most of your time learning everything you can about the wine business and how to create and sustain success. Good luck with your adventures as an oenophile!


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